Wednesday 21 January 2015

People in Sheffield will be joining the rest of the world to remember the millions of lives lost during the Holocaust and more recent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.
Holocaust Memorial Day takes place every year on the 27 January as a national mark of respect for the victims of Nazi Persecution.

The day looks back on the horrendous crimes that have taken place and aims to make sure that they are not forgotten or repeated.

Events to mark the day will include a candlelit vigil, the screening of various short films and a display of posters in the Winter Garden.

Cllr Mazher Iqbal, Cabinet Member for Communities and Public Health said: “Every year we look back to reflect on the persecution that has affected millions over the years. It is important to remember what others have been through so that we can learn from their experiences and work together to wipe out discrimination and create a safer future.

“We welcome anyone from any walk of life to join us next week and remember.”

People involved in the vigil next week have come together from different communities to share what the day means to them, to reflect on past suffering, and to remind us why we should not forget.

Chief Rabbi Golomb of the Sheffield Jewish Orthodox Community said: ‘a generation after the liberation of prisoners from Auschwitz, the only weapon to combat such evil revisiting humanity is to keep the memory alive and to teach the next generation just how bad racism and the like can get. Teach man, woman child of every nation, race and faith to cherish life then not only will we keep the memory alive but also the people!’

Penny Kay, Chair of the Sheffield and District Reform Jewish Congregation said: “I have friends who lost dear family members during the Holocaust, and they keep their memories alive. For many who perished there was no one left to say Kaddish (the Jewish prayer for the dead) or even remember their names. Those who survived are getting older, and soon there will be no one with living memory of the horror of the Holocaust, and the people that died. It will be left to those who care to remember all those who suffered.”

Emily Lester, from Side by Side drama group, is also involved in the vigil: “Side by Side feel it is incredibly important to be involved in Holocaust Memorial Day to represent the members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Trans community who lost their lives during the Holocaust but also to show solidarity with all the other groups who suffered during this abhorrent time in history.

“Memories can be extremely painful but they make us who we are. The Holocaust is not just a warning from the past but more a contemporary issue. It cannot, and should not, be an event consigned only to history. For the sake of our future we must remember our past.”

The first Holocaust Memorial Day took place in 2001 and originally set out to remember the Nazis’ attempt to wipe out the Jews between 1941 and 1945. At the end of the holocaust six million Jewish men, women and children had been murdered in ghettos, mass-shootings, concentration camps and exterminations camps.

The theme of this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day is Keep the memory alive. It marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau and the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Bosnia.

The Holocaust Memorial Day vigil will be taking place in the Winter Garden, 5.30 – 6.30. Everyone is welcome.

For more information about what is taking place this year visit www.sheffield.gov.uk/hmd.